Sunday, December 27, 2009

Happy Birthday Shannon!

I believe....that DEEP down inside.....every mother wants a mini-me. I was no exception. In fact, I just knew I HAD to have a daughter. And I would name her Shannon, after my very best friend in 4th grade. Her name was Shannon White. She was only here for a year, but we were buddies, and I loved her. Fast forward 15 years or so, and I am pregnant with what will be my third & final baby. Oh how I prayed for a little girl. I even 'bartered' with God, if you can believe that! Of course, I didn't know Him then, and in my 'ignorance' I thought that if I made a deal with Him, He'd give me my little girl. I needn't have worried. He gave me my daughter because she was predestined to be. And every day I am SO thankful for her.

Shannon was 6 weeks early. I entered the hospital on Christmas Eve morning, in preterm labor. She was born 3 1/2 days later, after an entirely PAIN FREE labor. No epidural, no nothing except the medication that tried to stop labor. People can't believe that I had a pain free labor, especially a labor that lasted 3 1/2 days. It's true. She was born at 4:34pm, a healthy 5lbs 9oz, 17in long. A beautiful little girl with a head of light brown hair.

She was a good baby with a, shall we say, strong will...LOL...a strong will that has carried her through some difficult times in her life.

She was an excellent student, loved by her classmates and teacher alike. And then, in 2000, the inevitable happened. She left home to go to Bible College. My heart was broken. For 6 weeks, every time I'd go into her room for something, I'd break down & cry. My baby was no longer a baby, nor was she living at home anymore. We were empty nesters. We adjusted.

In 2004 She called me. 'Mom, I'm coming home'. That was like music to my ears! We made plans and rented a U-haul to go up to Orange County and bring our girl home, well, back to Ramona. In the years that she was gone, she grew even more independent than she was when she left home. For the first year or 2 after she came home, it was a real struggle for her. She worked 2 jobs just to try to stay afloat. But not once did I ever hear the words "I can't do this any more" spoken from her. It was quite the opposite. Her faith remained strong, and God blessed her 3 years ago with a job that she loves, helping people.

Shannon, I admire and respect you SO much. I have watched you blossom from a tiny little girl into the strong, independent woman that you are today. Your faith inspires me. Your determination assures me that you'll be okay. You're not 'needy', and that in itself is an answered prayer. You have such a caring and giving heart, and when you love, you love with your entire being. People who have you in their lives are blessed indeed. I am SO very proud that you are my daughter.

Happy Birthday Honey. I love you so much. May your day be as wonderful as you.

Love Mom

Sunday, November 8, 2009

Happy Birthday Jessica!

She's 29 again ;)

Jessica-our very special birthday 'girl'. Such a vital part of our family. From Day One she just fit right in.

Jessica is beautiful. She's smart. She's funny. And she's there when we need her. To be honest with you, I wasn't sure that Jimmy was going to find someone perfect for him. I'm glad I was wrong! Jess once told me, 'I'm not perfect, and Jimmy's not perfect, but somehow we fit perfectly together.' And they do.

It's been a rough 18 months or so for her. Between planning their wedding, then Jimmy & her both being injured and both having to have surgery, then finding out that the house they were renting was being sold right out from under them, not to mention the drama that daily life can bring, Jess has managed to take everything in stride and keep her attitude right. I admire her strength in the face of adversity. I'm SO not that way.

She's a wonderful cook, and has actually gotten her husband to eat some things that he wouldn't touch before he met her. She's the best step mom ever to Alissa & Justen. She truly loves them and cares for them, and it shows.

She's a wonderful daughter-in-law. I've told you before how blessed I am that she & Katie are members of our family. I still stand by that statement, and I know that'll be the case for decades to come.

This week she and Jimmy are heading off to Vegas baby! A long-awaited and VERY deserved few days away. A belated mini honeymoon, and much-needed R & R. I hope you guys have a blast! Don't worry about your 'boys'. Grandma will take good care of the grand dogs :)

I love you Jess....Happy Birthday Honey....


Sunday, October 25, 2009

Bates, Baking, and Birthday

All I can say is that all of us had a WONDERFUL time yesterday! The weather was perfect. This year Jared joined us for the 1st time, and Peyton had her very 1st pony ride, assisted by her cousin Alissa. Then it was back to Brian & Katie's for a fun-filled afternoon of baking, pumpkin carving, laughter, and LOTS of eating. Ahhh...does life get any better? We ended the day by celebrating Jim/Dad/Grandpa's birthday (a little early).
So many times I've asked the Lord what I've done to deserve such a wonderful family. I think I'll quit asking, and just continue to bask in His blessing, that is otherwise known as my family.
I am blessed beyond measure.
Thank You, Lord.

Saturday, September 19, 2009

Happy Anniversary Jimmy & Jessica!

I can't believe it. First off that it's been over 3 months since I last blogged.

Secondly, that Jimmy & Jess' 1st wedding anniversary is here already! Tomorrow is actually 'the day' but while things are fresh in my mind, I blog.

I am learning, that as a parent, I never stop learning. Make sense? It should! Every chapter of your child's life brings a new learning experience. There also comes a time when each child grows up, and you, as a parent, must 'let go'. That's been hard for me, because I always felt that as their mom, I knew what was best for them! But I continue to learn that you hold your adult children in the palm of your OPEN hand. You let them make their own decisions, their own mistakes, and their own life. You are ALWAYS there, whether to encourage, advise, or pick up the pieces of a broken heart. That's what parents of adult children do.

About 3 years ago Jimmy came to us & told us he'd found 'someone special'. I thought he was either crazy, or on the rebound from the long term relationship he'd just come out of. 'Back off mom' I told myself, 'and see where it goes'. So I did. A few weeks later we met Jessica. We were having a family get-together and I'd told him he was welcome to invite her up. Well, she fit right in-and that's where she's been ever since. A little later down the road I asked him the same question I'd asked Brian before he proposed to Katie. 'Is this woman someone you can see yourself making a life with, having a family with, and growing old with?' And Jimmy said 'Yes, absolutely mom. NO doubt whatsoever.' That was good enough for me! So he took her up to the mountains and proposed at sunset. We all had a part in helping them with their wedding, which was beautiful. A year ago tomorrow. Wow-time has just flown by. Jimmy & Jess have had a rough first year. A few days after the wedding,Jimmy got hurt and had to have surgery. A few months later (earlier this year) Jess got hurt and had to have surgery. Then a few months ago the owners of the house they were renting decided to sell-and not tell them! However, the property manager convinced the owners that they legally HAD to tell Jimmy & Jess, so they did. Jimmy & Jess decided to not wait till the last minute, then try to scramble to find another house, and they found their current house on the first try!

Jessica is a wonderful daughter-in-law. I am so blessed with her & Katie. Jess fits right in, always willing to lend a helping hand or a sympathetic ear.

I have never seen my son so at peace in a relationship. He & Jess compliment each other to a 'T'. She's perfect for him, and he for her. We love hanging out with them, because we know we'll be laughing more than anything.

I could go on & on (even more than I already have!), but I think you get the picture.

So, with that, I end this blog with a resounding Happy Anniversary Jimmy & Jessica! You are a special couple, and may you have a long and happy life, full of joy, laughter, and prosperity. I love both of you beyond words.


Thursday, July 9, 2009

Happy Birthday Justen!

I've lots to do today, but first up on my list is wishing our firstborn Grandson Justen the happiest birthday ever!

Justen can be defined in one word. ~LOVE~. This child has the purest, most loving heart of anyone I know. Literally. Let's take a trip down memory lane, reflecting on the past 9 years. Has it REALLY been 9 years already? (Sigh), where did the time go?

Justen weighed in at a robust 8 pounds at birth. His was the first birth I'd witnessed, and let me tell you, there's just nothing like witnessing the birth of your own grandchild!
Despite a colicky start, he was a happy baby, well known for sending the entire family into peals of laughter with his giggles. Then came those deep baby belly laughs, and more times than not, we'd all just 'lose it. Justen's laughter was indeed the BEST 'medicine' around!
Into toddler hood we go, and Justen has now earned the nickname 'Bulldozer'. And rightfully so! The child saw something he wanted, and off he went, in a straight shot. Didn't matter if there were any people or objects in his way-he bulldozed his way right through them! Our toes got stepped on countless times in this little boy's quest to conquer whatever it was he had his sights set on! We learned to pull our feet up FAST when Justen saw something he wanted!
At around age 2, he began having health issues. Many of you know that over the course of the last 7 years, I've sent out numerous prayer request emails on his behalf. Despite those issues, the one thing that has never changed with J-Dawg (another affectionate nickname, given to him by his Daddy), is his loving nature.
Justen wants to be loved. Period. He has NO other expectations of anyone, other than they love him. He's such a friendly little man who LOVES to show his love with lots & lots of hugs. He'd be a perfect Tanner Family member! LOL...
He is also big on compliments. I can't tell you how many times he's said to me, "Grandma, you're beautiful', or, "Grandma, you're my best friend', or, "Grandma, I love you'. Oh how my heart melts and does flip flops when he says things like that to me, because I know he is absolutely sincere in what he says. There is no purer heart.
The past few years have found Justen dealing with some very significant life changes. Several moves, and a new stepmom, and yet for the most part, he just takes everything in stride. Oh sure, he has his 'moments'. All kids do. And sometimes when he's feeling overwhelmed with everything going on in his life, he has a 'bad' day, but we're all learning how to deal with those 'bad' days. And we're thankful that the 'good' days outnumber the 'bad'.
J is a typical 9 year old. Loves to play with car/trucks/anything that allows you to get dirty without getting in trouble for it. He loves his doggies Kingston & Bailey, and loves riding his scooter across the street at the park. He's also held the Wii record in bowling until recently, when Jessica outscored him. Watching him bowl on the Wii is priceless! The kid doesn't aim...he has this special technique, all his own, and simply fires away. Gets a strike 9 times out of 10-it's SO funny to watch, and when he gets a strike, there's no hoopla from him. He simply grins, and hands the controller to the next person.
We are blessed beyond measure to have this child as a member of our family. He adds so much to our lives.
Happy Birthday Little Buddy! You are loved SO much more than you realize!

Sunday, May 17, 2009

Happy Birthday To ME!

Yep, it's MY turn. My birthday isn't really until tomorrow, but I have to write things down as I think of them, or they'll 'poof' from my brain...

I'm 52. Never had a problem with revealing my age. It's only a number. Well, maybe not....SOME days I wake up and feel about 90! The body just isn't 18 anymore, and never lets me forget that fact! LOL....give me an hour out of bed and I'm as good as...well...a 52-year-old!

There's not much to tell about me really. Born in the Pacific Northwest (near Portland, OR), the 6th of 7 children. Moved to Ramona at age 5, where I've been ever since. Met & married Jim here, raised my kids here...I guess it's all about Ramona, huh? :)

I was the proverbial 'goody-two-shoes'. My mom, being a single mom of 7, HAD to be strict, and it just wasn't worth it to 'screw up'. So many good childhood memories in Ramona. Back then, in the mid 60's, the population here was around 5,000. You knew just about everyone you met on the street. Two tiny grocery stores, and you knew the owners....and their kids too! Walks with mama down Main Street at 9 o'oclock on a warm summer evening. Kid brother David checking each pay phone as we passed by, hoping for success in finding a shiny coin. That kid was lucky! Sleeping with doors and windows WIDE open on a hot summer night. No fear of crime-this town was safe! ONE Sheriff. He knew everyone, and everyone knew him. Great guy! Playing in the middle of the street, with no fear of being run down by a 'speeder'.....long bike rides on summer days, just David and me, all over Ramona. Mom wasn't worried. We were safe. Playing on the school grounds was fun, especially the ball courts. They're gone now. Trick or Treating-ALONE, and again, no fear of harm. You knew everyone who's house you went to. Ice cream cones at the Jolly Cone-a friend was the owner. Mananas is there now. A special treat was dinner at the Ranch Drive-In...El Ranchita is there now. SO many memories. How I LOVE yesteryear, when life was so simple, innocent, and uncomplicated. I'd go back in a heartbeat, just to relive the wonderful times.

I married Jim just shy of my 17th birthday. That was 'acceptable' back then-wasn't unusual at all. At the time, there were those who gave us MAYBE 5 years. It's been 35. Guess we showed them, huh? I was blessed to be a stay-at-home-mom. Shannon was in 2nd grade before I got my first job. It was perfect. The kids were in school from 8-2, and my job was from 9-1. Eventually, of course, each child grew up and left 'home', but there was usually a family member to take their place in the empty bedroom, and on occasion, each child has moved back 'home' for a period. Our last 'chick' to leave the 'nest', was my niece Julie, 2 years ago. She lived with us briefly until she met & married her hubby Jeremy. It took some getting used to, this 'empty nest'. I've loved having everyone here, but now I'm used to it.

The past few years have been a season of discovering who PENNY is. Now, what I'm about to say is true, but in NO way am I speaking regretfully. I wouldn't change what I've done. See, when I got married, and had my kids, I kind of put MY wants and needs on the back burner. I kind of lost sight as to who I was, and what MY purpose in life is. I've always been very family-oriented. Family has ALWAYS come first, no matter what. Jim & I had SO much fun being involved with our kids. Sports, music, whatever, we always did things as a family. I instilled in my children that your family comes above all others, and I am proud to say that they took heart, and that's exactly how things are.

But's just Jim & me. As I reflect on the past 52 years, I have to ask myself, 'what have I accomplished, and where do I go from here?' Well, in answer to question #1....there are 3+answers: Jimmy, Brian, & Shannon, their spouses and their children. This is by far my greatest accomplishment. If I accomplish nothing else in this life, I can die today knowing that some of the most wonderful human beings on this earth share my DNA, and that I was blessed by their births.

I have found my role in life it seems. The role of servant hood-and I mean that in the most respectful way. I care for people. My calling came a LONG time ago-about 30 years ago to be exact, when I started caring for my ailing mom. Out of 7 siblings, I was the only one left in Ramona, so I just did what I had to do, and didn't think twice about it. I've cared for others as well, and there's no greater satisfaction than knowing you helped make someone final years happy and easier. And loved.

So, here I am. 52. A 'Golden Girl'. Still wondering who I really am, and what it is that my heart desires. I guess I really needn't worry about WHO I am, or what I want. I am a child of God, and He will help me along the path of self discovery. I am a work in progress. I think I'll just sit back, enjoy the 'ride of life', and take each day as it comes.

So, that's it. Just a small portion of my story. I hope you've enjoyed reading it as much as I've enjoyed reliving it. Maybe I should write a book, hmmm???

Until next time~God Bless~

Thursday, May 7, 2009

Happy Birthday Brian!

Due to family emergencies and illnesses, this blog is late.

My son Brian turned 31 on Tuesday. Let me tell you, in THIS mom's words, about Brian.

We almost didn't have him. He wasn't breathing when he was born. I never heard his first cry, nor did I see him until he was about 5 hours old. Talk about a freaked out mama! So freaked out that I got out of bed without permission, and told Jim if HE didn't take me to the nursery RIGHT NOW, I'd go by myself. So we went, and as we walked through the nursery doors, I passed out. Too soon after giving birth to be out of bed, but my baby boy needed me, and come hell or high water I was going to be with him! He'd swallowed amniotic fluid just before he crowned, and his lungs were full, and infection set in. He was in NICU for 2 weeks. There's nothing harder than leaving the hospital with empty arms.

I also had a 3 year old at home. Jimmy was so excited about having a baby brother, and so crushed when we came home without Brian. He literally sobbed, which, of course, made mommy join right in. It was tough. Spend the mornings with Jimmy, then head down to Mercy Hosp. and spend 4 or 5 hours with Brian, then head home in time to fix dinner and spend some quality time with Jimmy before he went to bed. We were exhausted, but the glorious homecoming day finally arrived, and we brought our precious son home!

Brian was a very mellow and good-natured baby. But boy, could that kid EAT! Wow! I always said I felt sorry for the women who married my sons, because their grocery bills would be astronomical! LOL...I think they've finally tapered off. No matter, I don't have to feed them anymore! LOL...Brian also liked to stick things where they don't belong. First time was a rock up his nostril. The dang thing was bigger than his nostril, and even the Dr couldn't figure out how he got it up there! The 2nd time was about 2 months later. A candy corn in his ear-that one was a false alarm, but we didn't know that until the ER visit, at which time the nurse asked me, 'Hey, isn't that the little guy that shoved a rock up his nose a couple of months ago?'

Brian, at 22 months old, ran away from home. Not consciously, mind you. More like wandered away. I turned my back for 30 seconds (which was about 29 seconds too long) and poof-GONE. My mother lived up the street, so all I could think of was that since we'd walked the street dozens of times, maybe he headed up that way. I stuck 5 year old Jimmy in the doorway of our apt. with the instructions, 'if you see Brian, you grab him and drag him in here and do NOT let him out!'...there is no greater pain than not knowing where your baby is.....horrible, awful thoughts ran through my head: 'he's so little, there's NO way a car could see him over the hood! We're 1 block from Main Street! Oh dear God, PLEASE help me find my baby NOW!!!' I RAN (and for those of you who really know me, you know that I do NOT run) up towards mom's house. No Brian. Headed back for home to call the Sheriff, when something made me turn my head towards the fire station, which was then on 9th Street, and lo and behold, here comes our friend Bill-a firefighter-headed my way, with a smiling, tow-headed little boy named Brian-happily on his hip! I didn't know whether to hug him or beat him! I chose the former...LOL...I should've known then that that would be Brian's calling in life.

Fast forward 16 years or so. Brian is 18, and invites mom to lunch. While sitting there, he says, 'Mom, I believe God has called me to be a firefighter.' It was then that I handed Brian over to God and said, 'Lord, if you've called Brian to this career, I place him in Your hands, and I trust YOU to take care of him.' And He has. Brian's been in some pretty hairy situations, and yet, I don't fear for him, because I know he is safely in the palm of the Lord's Hand.

Brian has always been so good with kids. Always wanted kids. His dream was realized when he met and married Katie, and then just 16 months ago became a proud daddy to Peyton Marie.
To watch my son with his child is amazing. He's such a good daddy. Loving, patient, attentive. He's what good daddies are made of. He's what good husbands are made of. he's what good sons are made of.

I am so blessed to have the 2 best sons in the world. Brian, like his big brother Jimmy, cares deeply about his parents and siblings, and his closest friends. He's always there with a helping hand, a word of advice, and a hug of encouragement. I am beyond proud to call him my son.

Happy Birthday Brian. I love you.